Find out how you can make sure climate is on the political agenda ahead of the Welsh Senedd elections in May 2021.

26 Feb 2021

What is the Senedd?

Senedd Cymru is the Welsh Parliament, and it's responsible for the vast majority of policies and legislation relating to climate and nature, including:

  • economy
  • transport
  • housing
  • nature
  • food and farming
  • waste, and
  • decarbonisation.

There are 60 Members of the Senedd (MSs) and they're elected to office every 5 years.

2021 election

On 6 May 2021, voters in Wales will elect all 60 Members of the Senedd (MSs).

In Wales each voter is represented by five MSs in total – one to represent the voter's local Senedd constituency, and the other four to represent the broader region in which that constituency sits. So for example, a voter living in Wrexham would be represented by one MS for the constituency of Wrexham and four MSs for the North Wales region in which Wrexham sits. There are five regions and 40 constituencies in total.

Each voter has two votes – one for a constituency member and one for the regional members. The constituency vote is used to elect an individual candidate, someone who's directly accountable to the voters in that constituency. The regional vote is different. It's used to elect candidates who represent the entire region, and it's used to choose a political party. Political parties list their candidates in order, and the more votes each party receives, the more the candidates on their list get elected as regional members.

Excitingly, this year will be the first time; 16 and 17 year olds and foreign nationals are allowed to vote in Wales.

Why is this election important?

Who gets voted in, and which party or parties form government, is crucial for the future of Wales and the future of action on climate change.

Under the Environment (Wales) Act, the new government will be preparing a "low carbon delivery plan" to deliver on their second carbon budget. This is the perfect opportunity for our new leaders to adopt the proposals in our Climate Action Plan for Wales. 

What can groups do?

The Senedd Election is a great opportunity for groups to develop relationships with future decision makers which they can then build on during the coming years.

Friends of the Earth Local Groups and Climate Action groups in Wales have a vital part to play in raising climate action with candidates of all parties, showing what we’d like to see in a Climate Action Plan for Wales, starting a debate locally, and asking candidates to sign up to this pledge:

If elected to the Senedd, I will use my voice and my vote to prioritise the climate and nature emergencies in all decisions, and support climate action to build a green and fair recovery for people and communities.

Remember to keep us updated with the commitments you collect from candidates by filling in our simple pledge form.

Getting pledges from your candidates is an important way to make sure the climate emergency is on their agenda if elected. We recommend you secure a pledge by either meeting with your candidates or organising a hustings.

Read our guidance on campaigning in the run-up to elections to ensure you're working within the law.

Meeting with your candidates

Meeting one-to-one with candidates is a good way of understanding their priorities and a chance to identify how committed they are to acting on the climate and ecological emergencies.

We suggest you seek meetings with your constituency candidates first. Then, if you have the time and resource, try to meet with those running to represent your region. Remember to seek meetings with constituency candidates from all parties so as to stick to political impartiality laws, and make sure climate is on the agenda no matter which party they represent.

We encourage you to share the Climate Action Plan for Wales with your candidates, either ahead of any meetings you may have, at the meeting itself or by email. It'll help focus your discussion, ensure they're in no doubt of your vision for the local area and give you a chance to push them on their plans.

Ask candidates if they’ll commit to implement, or continue to implement, an ambitious Climate Action Plan for your area. If you have the candidates support, ask them to sign up to your pledge (see above). Read our guide to meeting with your election candidates for more information.

Organise a hustings

A hustings is a panel discussion in the run-up to an election, where candidates debate policies and answer questions from the audience.

They're a great way to publicly push candidates to make commitments on taking climate action. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, hustings will need to be held online this year.

Read our guide on how to organise and host an online hustings.

You may want to work with other local allies and campaign groups when you’re lobbying candidates or holding hustings. Your campaign will be stronger and more impactful when you collaborate and build alliances across your community. Find out how to build alliances.

Get the word out

The more people that hear about your campaign the better. Find out how you can use social media and get media coverage to spread the word:

Keep in touch

Email us on community@foe.co.uk or get in touch on Slack to let us know how your campaign is going.

Elections